Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 19, 2015

Wisdom and Knowledge versus Obedience

A Sad Mystery Revealed in the Bible

For many years now I have, from time to time, pondered the mystery of King Solomon. This was a man who seemed to have anything his heart desired, a man of great wealth, noted for his wisdom and famous in his own time and the ages that would follow; yet he was the one who destroyed the nation of Israel. What a wild contradiction, how could that have possibly happened?

At a critical point in his life, Solomon, made an important decision, he asked God for wisdom and knowledge. In 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 we read:

“7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”

Solomon replied to God, “You showed great and faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. O Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! 10 Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?”

11 God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people— 12 I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!”

At first that appears to be a wise choice on Solomon’s part and is certainly a gracious response on God’s part but let’s see how it all played out.

The Mosaic Law

Solomon was subject to the Mosaic Law as was every other Israeli. The Mosaic Law was intended to provide guidance and direction for the Jewish people and to keep them out of trouble. Obedience to the law ensured success while disobedience to the law invited failure and disaster; we see this time after time in the Old Testament.

 How did Solomon do as a follower of  the Mosaic Law, was he faithful or was he unfaithful? Let’s look at his record and see.

In 1 Kings 2:1-4 we read,

As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon:

“I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man. Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. If you do this, then the Lord will keep the promise he made to me. He told me, ‘If your descendants live as they should and follow me faithfully with all their heart and soul, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’

That was very good advice from David to his son but sadly, Solomon would not follow that advice therefore his descendants did not always sit on the throne of Israel. More importantly, the Lord Jesus Christ’s physical genealogy does not include Solomon but comes through his brother, Nathan. In Luke 3:23-38 we find what is believed to be the genealogy of Mary which shows the Messianic line going from David to Nathan, not to Solomon as shown in the Matthew genealogy shown in Matthew 1:1-16 which is believed to be the genealogy through Joseph.

Solomon’s disobedience to the commands of the Mosaic Law resulted in both the division of the nation and the loss of the Messianic line which was given to his brother, Nathan.

Some examples of how King Solomon ignored the Mosaic Law are shown in Deuteronomy 17:16-17 where it is written:

16 “The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.’ 17 The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself.”

Concerning horses and chariots it is written in 1 Kings 4:26:

26 Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his chariot horses, and he had 12,000 horses.

And then in 1 Kings 10:28 we read:

“28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price.”

Regarding many wives in 1 Kings 11:1-9 we read:

11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines.”

In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.

On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.”

Regarding wealth; in 1 Kings 10:14-25 it is written:

“14 Each year Solomon received about 25 tons of gold. 15 This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders, all the kings of Arabia, and the governors of the land.

16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than fifteen pounds. 17 He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing nearly four pounds. The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

18 Then the king made a huge throne, decorated with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps and a rounded back. There were armrests on both sides of the seat, and the figure of a lion stood on each side of the throne. 20 There were also twelve other lions, one standing on each end of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it!

21 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day!

22 The king had a fleet of trading ships of Tarshish that sailed with Hiram’s fleet. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

23 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. 24 People from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. 25 Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.”

In today’s terms King Solomon could have had a net worth in excess of 100 billion dollars.

Next time we will consider the consequences of disobedience.


  1. I think God made an example for the rest of us through Solomon’s inability to handle immense wealth. But, I also wonder why the great wisdom Solomon was given did not give him wisdom about how to handle great wealth. I think Solomon’s own wishes overrode his wisdom. It is a very interesting story!


    • Alison,

      With the advantages of hindsight one might think it would have been better for King Solomon to have asked for the gift of obedience. We still have the opportunity to learn from his experience and ask God for obedience.



      • thank you brother David for the real gives me more information that i didn’t know before.Bravo!!!Continue to share in Jesus Name.


      • Pastor Kennedy,
        Thank you for your comment and being a subscriber. I hope you and your family are getting some sleep at night as your new son Joshua adjusts to his role in the outside world. May our loving God bless you and your family!


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